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"A Spouse's Story PTSD"
-A short version of our story-

ptsd us kissing

   Let me introduce myself, my name is Rebecca (Bec or Becky are just fine too). I am the spouse of a wonderful United States Disabled Veteran who suffers from PTSD chronic, Depressive Disorder, and a few other things as well. Just to note, Craig and I are both onboard with bringing our story and awareness to others.
 
So with that said, let me get on to our story...

   It all started one day while at the lake with friends in 1989. I was on crutches at the time from a knee injury and Craig had come to the lake house with my friend's brother. Two people from two different worlds met that day. Craig and I went to different high schools and had never met before then.

   After a long day on the lake and Craig showing off to all of the girls, he had swept up a lily pad and was skiing around with it between his teeth like a rose. When we reached land he was helping me out of the boat and handed me the lily pad, I recall it like it was yesterday. He said, "Don't ever say I didn't give you anything." With a huge smile on his face.

   Oh yes, I took note of that and before I left the lake that day I handed him my phone number and told him to call me sometime. He did call me and we went on our first date that coming Friday night. At the end of the date he told me "I didn't know tonight would go this well". In shock I asked what he meant. He replied, "I'm leaving for Australia tomorrow for three months."

   Oh my heart sank! However that three months of him being gone brought something special to us, we got to know each other in a way that many people don't have a chance to. We spent the next three months writing letters back and forth, he would call when there was a phone available to call. During this time I actually got to know his family and friends, that was a strange situation with him not being here, however it all worked out.

   By the time he came home it was like we had known each other forever! We dated for about four years. Everyone knew us as if one of us were there the other probably wasn't far behind. We spent many days at the lake... our special place... hanging out with friends, going to church, family gatherings, just everything life is made from.
PTSD Growing up

    Then the day came where I was done with school, he was wanting to start a career in Air Traffic Control and it was time for a plan. We looked over all of the options that could make his dreams come true and finally decided on the United States Navy.

   Time came for Craig to leave for boot camp. Oh a day I will never forget. The largest misunderstanding we ever had! All the love in the world between us couldn't fix that day. He went his way and I went on to start a new life without him. We still wrote to each other and kept in touch, but I was stubborn and refused to look back.

   I ended up marrying someone else, Craig a few years later married also. We still kept in touch as friends throughout the years but never spoke of why we separated. His first marriage did not last very long. Later on he married for a second time, but that was after his deployment.

   I will never forget the call that came in to me in 1996, he was deployed at the time and my heart just skipped beats from what I could hear in the background and by the tone of his voice. Something was wrong and I knew it! If something was wrong that phone always seemed to ring over the years. He always knew when he couldn't turn to anyone else, my friendship was still there.

   Craig would come by and visit my husband and I when he was home on leave time. Our families stayed close. But since that call in 1996 I knew something had changed Craig. Something was just different.  

PTSD on a mountain
   Jumping ahead, the day came in my life where my marriage was not working. There was no avoiding a divorce. Then sure enough the phone rang. After a few years of not communicating who was I to hear but Craig on the other end of the line. "What's wrong?" I asked. "No, what's wrong with you first?", he said. I told him that my marriage was ending and I was moving on with my life. Well, to my shock he told me he was getting divorced from his second wife.

   You guessed it, that's when our two roads crossed again. The divorces were finalized and our new relationship started. Things moved rather quickly and we were married the same year. Craig and I had had many conversations about his military career, he had told me things he had been through, things he had seen, and so on. Something he felt I needed to know up front.
 
   I could see the changes in him from what I knew of before. He was having nightmares and acting in ways that I knew were not him. But none of this was anything like the day we chose for him to take orders back to a ship so he could move up in rank. Everything changed drastically the first day he stepped foot onto that ship.   What seemed to be a dream come true for us became a nightmare within itself very fast. I no longer knew the man I was married to. Skipping ahead again, the day came where it effected his work. We had tried telling command something was wrong with him but no one would listen. They did that day!

   That was the start of seeing doctors for months on end with no one being able to come up with an answer. He was finally told he could no longer do his job and was discharged. Needing family support we headed back to our home state to be near family.

   The road for us just became harder. We couldn't get him appointments, he was spiraling out of control. Finally he was seen by the ER and his treatment started. It did not take long for the VA doctors to say the word "PTSD" to us.

   PTSD, what is that? During all of this time of learning we lost everything we had worked so hard for. The house was gone, the business, the cars, plane, rv, everything! The only thing still intact was our family.

   Craig needed much of my time, his memory issues were severe (the reason he was discharged) and he could not function through everyday life by himself anymore. We finally moved back to our hometown, I knew at this point I needed serious backup and support.
PTSD at its worst

    Treatment continued, and I continued holding the family together and caring for Craig. My search for the answers to the changes in my husband continued... which has lead to you being here! The VA eventually started the caregiver program which was a blessing to us!

   To say the least this is the short version of our story and by no means the end of it, but this gives you a little insight to our journey. So here we are, taking one day at a time in this new world of PTSD... on the lake again.

PTSD Lake

   When I started researching what PTSD was I thought I was alone in this journey. I found out very fast that that is far from the truth and there are many of us out there. The reasons behind PTSD might be different but the symptoms and life itself are very much the same.

   I promised myself that if I could help one person, just one single person out there, start on a different path to finding answers then what we did then I have succeeded. So here I am, we are, and hoping that something in our story and information will help YOU!

   PTSD does not choose one person, one color, or one nation. It does not care if you are old or young, rich or poor. It does not matter if you are military or civilian. PTSD can affect anyone that has experienced a traumatic event... and more people then you could possibly imagine.

   No one asks for PTSD, but no one deserves to be or feel alone with it either! I will tell you right now, "You are NOT alone" and there IS still life with PTSD... and Craig and I and our family are proving it!

Welcome to our story...
~Bec
"A Spouse's Story...PTSD"

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